George W. Loper
George W. Loper once told his wife when he dies he wants to be buried at the track.
Perhaps there will be no more fitting a final resting place for this man who has devoted the past 45 years of his life to coaching high school track & field.
Loper, 70, began his coaching career in 1954 at Media High School in Pennsylvania. He came to Florida in 1963 where he was first employed at Ribault High School in Jacksonville. He transferred to Bradford High School in Starke in 1967, where he currently remains employed.
Loper's legacy is impressive. His boys track teams have won 517 meets, while losing only 107. His girls track teams have won 180 meets and lost just 55. His boys cross country teams have won 240 meets and lost 100, while his girls cross country teams have won 162 meets and lost 51. He has coached three individual state champions and three relay team state champions in boys track, eight individual state champions in girls track, and one individual state champion on two individual state runners-up in girls cross country.
Loper, a native of Philadelphia, Pa., attended John Bartram High School in West Philadelphia, but joined the United States Marine Corps in January 1944 before graduating, where he served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam Conflict. He obtained his high school graduate-equivalency diploma through the Marines in 1949. Loper received a Bachelor of Science degree from Westchester State Teaching College in 1954 and a Masters in Education degree from Temple University in 1957.
Loper received the Sunshine State Games Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports in 1997, the Florida Athletic Coaches Association Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992, and the FACA Meritorious Service Award in 1988.
Loper and his wife, Jeanne Ann, reside in Starke.